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    Sale 7445

    Important European Furniture, Sculpture and Tapestries

    6 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 181

    A PAIR OF NORTH EUROPEAN GREY-PORPHYRY URNS

    PROBABLY RUSSIAN OR SWEDISH, 19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A PAIR OF NORTH EUROPEAN GREY-PORPHYRY URNS
    PROBABLY RUSSIAN OR SWEDISH, 19TH CENTURY
    Each with a baluster body flanked by square section handles, on a turned base
    23 in. (58 cm.) high (2)


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    These elegant vases are similar to C.F. Sundvall's designs for porphyry vases, which were executed around 1788-1790, and to those by the Court ciseleur Fredrik Ludvig Rung of 1799 (H. Sundblom, Porfyr, Stockholm, 1985, p. 21). Various related porphyry items were intended as gifts by the King of Sweden, Maréchal Bernadotte, who reigned as Karl XIV Johann from 1818 to 1844, and whose family owned the porphyry mines. The King presented numerous porphyry objects to Napoléon's maréchaux and various other French dignitaries. A large number of these still remain in France, such as the vase given to Maréchal Gérard, which was offered at Christie's, Monaco, 2 July 1993, lot 235.

    Porphyry was first discovered in Sweden at Alvdalen in 1731 but was not commercially exploited until after 1788 by Eric Hagstrom under the direction of Nile Adam Bielke. The works were purchased by Bernadotte in 1818 and stayed in Royal ownership until 1856. Bernadotte used the production of primarily Empire objects in porphyry and related granite to disseminate the Empire style that he had brought from France. Production largely ceased following a disastrous fire in 1869.

    Similar stone cutting factories were established in Russia during the 18th century at Peterhof, Ekaterinburg and Kolyvan, using Russian stones mined in the Ural mountains such as Korgon porphyry. (see E. Ducamp ed., Pavlosk The Collections, Paris, 1993, pp. 196-207 and Le Soleil et L'Etoile du Nord, exh. cat., p.337, cat 522).

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    With Bernard Steinitz, Paris.